Packing Cycling Clothes for a Cold Weather Rally…. Yikes!

To borrow a quote from the Grinch, “What do I wear!

When we were in our 40’s, we’d always say, “no ride if raining or below 40°F”.  As we got into our 50’s it became, “no ride if raining or below 50°F”.  We’re now in our mid-50’s and, “no ride if raining or below 55°F” is sounding pretty good.  Perhaps this is what drives so many tandem teams to move south?

With that in mind, as this year’s Southern Tandem Rally (STR) approached, weather guessers were showing temps dropping into the high 30’s for Sunday morning.  Now, while I’ve been pretty critical of the ability of outlets like Weather.com’s ability to “get it right” when it comes to forecasting rain or other significant weather systems, they do seem to have pretty good models when it comes to projecting temperature trends when the jet streams are following normal patterns.  So, while I wasn’t buying the “rain is likely” look of the entire weekend, I did have some level of confidence that the temps would, in fact, be down in the low 40’s or upper 30’s.

cyclingtogsWith a fairly good grasp of what the weather would like, I began to pull out all of the different cycling clothes we’d need to have on hand at STR so we’d be prepared for the range of temperatures we’d see throughout the three days of riding. Of course, the trick would be selecting the right clothes for layering since the temperatures at the start and end of the rides would be 20°F to 30°F different.  With that in mind, below is a list of what went in our kits for this past weekend.  You’ll note that most of what we took we used, as reflected by the notations after each item: (X)  = worn; (O) not used.  Yes, we were very comfortable and by layering, it very easy to peel-off a jacket or wind vest to adapt to the warming temps throughout the rides on Sat & Sun.

Debbie, from the top down

  • 1 Cycling Helmet (X)
  • 1 Ear Warmer (X)
  • 1 Balaclava (O)
  • 1 Long-sleeve, thermal undershirt (X)
  • 3 short sleeve jerseys (XXO)
  • 1 pair arm warmers (X)
  • 1 long-sleeve winter weight jersey (O)
  • 1 long-sleeve winter weight over-jersey (X)
  • 1 sleeveless wind vest (X)
  • 1 lightweight, wind/rain resistant cycling jacket (X)
  • 3 pair cycling shorts (XOO)
  • 1 pair cycling tights (O)
  • 1 pair cycling knickers (X)
  • 1 pair bib cycling tights (X)
  • 1 pair wood, full-fingered cycling gloves (O)
  • 1 pair synthetic full-fingered cycling gloves (X)
  • 3 pair lycra cycling gloves (XXO)
  • 3 pair heavyweight cycling socks (XXX)
  • 1 pair cycling shoes (X)
  • 1 pair cycling shoe covers (O)

Mark, from the top down

  • 1 Cycling Helmet (X)
  • 3 bandana’s (XXX)
  • 1 Long-sleeve, thermal undershirt (X)
  • 3 short sleeve jerseys (XXO)
  • 1 pair arm warmers (X)
  • 1 long-sleeve winter weight jersey (O)
  • 1 long-sleeve winter weight over-jersey (X)
  • 1 sleeveless wind vest (X)
  • 1 lightweight, wind/rain resistant cycling jacket (X)
  • 3 pair bib cycling shorts (XOO)
  • 1 pair bib cycling knickers (X)
  • 1 pair bib cycling tights (X)
  • 1 pair wool, full-fingered cycling gloves (O)
  • 1 pair synthetic full-fingered cycling gloves (X)
  • 3 pair heavyweight cycling socks (XXX)
  • 1 pair cycling shoes (X)
  • 1 pair cycling shoe covers (X)

Yes, that’s a lot of “stuff” to have on hand, to be sure and there’s actually even a bit more “stuff” back at the house, e.g., leg & knee warmers for longer days in the saddle where knickers or tights might be too much later in the day.  Of course, you don’t typically run out and buy this stuff all at once: it tends to be event driven.  I shudder to think what the total cost was, or what the value of a single kit might be if it went missing on a trip!!  Although, I did notice that some of the older items like my 10 year old knickers are very much in need of replacement.  Amazingly, all four of the 17-year old Pearl Izumi jackets are holding their own!

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About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
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